SUVs today are as popular in India as ever. The concept and status quo of buying a car in India has changed from “Lambi gaadi” to “Badi gaadi.” The taller and the wider your car is today, the better. Speaking of which, does the definition of an SUV today apply to everything on 4 wheels that has a tall stance, boxy design, high ground clearance and a commanding driving position?
The answer is maybe unclear, but the perspective of seeing an SUV or what does it have to offer has definitely changed. SUVs or Sport Utility Vehicles were purpose-built machines, to take you anywhere, on all kinds of roads, across all terrains and provide you a king on the road feel.
SUVs earlier had a tall stance and looked bulky. Subtle isn’t the word that we can use to define the SUVs of yesteryears. They were plonked with engines which were big in displacement numbers. And not to forget, most of the SUVs were either RWD or had a 4×4 drivetrain.
Two of the most loved, probably one of the best Indian SUVs ever made would be the Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari, hands down. Both these products revolutionised the segment in their respective manners. It’s a shame that Safari was discontinued and the introduction of the new Safari further strengthens the discussion, are SUVs today losing their real essence?
Today, SUVs majorly mean a compact design, a monocoque chassis, front wheel drive, a relatively tall stance with a little more ground clearance than a regular sedan and loads of features and electronic assists on the inside. Today, sadly, the feel, the connection, the make, the real SUV persona don’t matter much to people. The Government has somewhat sparked this shift towards “Pseudo” SUVs by levying extra cesses beyond 4 m of length and 200mm of ground clearance.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we aren’t implying that the current crop of SUVs are bad or useless They are good in their own might and needless to say, are more modern than ever before. Today, we find ourselves pampered by the creature comforts these SUVs throw on the table. The long-list of features has overshadowed the mechanical feel that the old SUVs used to have.
For a person who thinks of a car as a mere means of transportation, this might not make much sense but for the more enthusiastic lot who view their car as an extension of themselves, the above-mentioned fact stands true.
The logic is simple. The more control you have on what you are driving, the better you will relate to it. Something which is hard to experience owing to the modern-day SUVs’ lifeless steering wheels and a bucketload of electronic aids. There are only a select few ‘true’ SUVs left in the market today and to be honest, it feels good to see something like the Mahindra Thar selling like hot cakes. The latest iteration of this homegrown off-roader has successfully established the fact that one can have a true-blue SUV without compromising on the practicality front that much. We hope that SUVs like the Thar or the Endeavour and the Fortuner keep gracing our shores so that we don’t forget the real essence of SUVs.